Edyta and Jared's Four-Day Celebration in Palm Springs

The Couple

Belathée Photography

One of the many things Edyta Szyszlo and Jared Grellner have in common: They like to take their sweet time to do things right. Fate first brought them together in a seminar at Missouri's Drury University, where they were students back in 2002. After gazing at a "freckled, mysterious, and well-dressed stranger" for most of the semester, Edyta finally worked up the courage to whisper "I like your style," before darting away. Jared waited until the next class to ask Edyta out to dinner. But once they got started, they fell hard and fast and have been together ever since.

Post-college, the pair pursued careers in the wedding industry in San Francisco—Edyta as a photographer and Jared as the founder of a photo booth company. Both were so busy working everyone else's nuptials that their own took a backseat. "We weren't in a rush and had made the commitment to each other ages ago," explains Edyta. Eventually, after a dozen years of dating, they decided to make it official. "It wasn't exactly a 'Do you wanna?' moment," says Jared, who'd been forewarned that Edyta didn't like the idea of his dropping to one knee. Instead, they lay in bed, talked about their futures, and, later, shopped for a ring.

It was important to the duo that their day didn't feel like being on the clock, so they planned a "wedding vacation" in the desert for 34 loved ones. On a Saturday in early February 2014, guests arrived to a four-day celebration featuring alfresco feasts; outdoor activities that included biking, swimming, hiking, and playing golf; and lots of quality hang time.

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A Wedding Vacation

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Monday was (wait for it) Holy Matri-Monday, a term coined by their stationer, Cheree Berry. The suite design, inspired by kaleidoscopes, came in a box full of die-cut, foil-stamped papers that relayed all the relevant information. A mini glassine envelope held custom confetti circles sharing the day's palette and dress code, and a hexagonal insert card requested that recipients pass along a vow for the couple to read at the ceremony.

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Welcome to the Desert

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Guests were welcomed to Palm Springs with in-hotel acrylic trays stocked with custom postcards, cheeky do-not-disturb signs, a journal, and wine from Banshee, a friend's vineyard.

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The Ceremony

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On the wedding day (February 3), attendees were taken by school bus to a peaceful patch in the Mojave Desert, with a view of the San Jacinto Mountains rising in the distance. Rather than being escorted down an aisle by her father, Edyta walked arm in arm with Jared, then stood in the middle of a wreath made of bay leaves, smilax, and air ferns. Edyta and Jared planned a nondenominational service that was nontraditional, but full of symbolism. Attendees formed a circle around the bride and groom for the vows. Their officiant, a friend, had compiled the words of wisdom that invitees had written on their R.S.V.P. cards into a journal and passed it to the couple to read aloud.

"It was a great way to get our friends and family involved," says Edyta.

As for the music, the electronic processional tune came from an unsuspecting place. "My major wedding-day purchase was a pair of Prada shoes, which, being Prada, came with a USB loaded with a documentary on how the shoes were made—I know, I know!" laughs Jared. All joking aside, watching the file gave the pair an idea. "The soundtrack [in the documentary] was the perfect blend of electronic bleeps, accordions, and percussion, so we made it our wedding song and timed our walk down the aisle to go with the music."

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The Wedding Rings

Pastel and Pyrite Table Setting
Belathée Photography

Both Edyta's and Jared's wedding bands were designed by Oregon-based jeweler Chinchar/Maloney. The bride's is rimmed in black diamonds; the groom's is thin and solid 14k gold.

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The Fashions

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Edyta, in a silk-chiffon dress sewn by her mother and inspired by a Marchesa design, and Jared, in a J.Crew jacket, shirt, and pants, led their guests, all in pastel and neutral colors, from the ceremony site. The bride, whose dress was accented with hand-sewn gold and copper sequins, wore a J.Crew necklace as a headpiece. "I wanted something less 'bridal,'" she says.

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The Bridal Bouquet

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Edyta carried a mostly white clutch of king proteas, sweet peas, ranunculus, veronicas, poppies, and garden spray roses, made by Bloem Hill.

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The In Crowd

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Next stop on the bus route: the private estate that the pair had rented for the reception, a midcentury masterpiece called Casa Verona. Before the cocktail hour got underway, the newlyweds posed with their guests on the front lawn.

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The Cocktail Hour

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During cocktail hour around the pool, partygoers helped themselves to spiked beverages—a fizzy and fruity vodka punch and a citrusy riff on gin and tonic—from glass dispensers.

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Cocktail Attire

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A guitarist strummed Robert Johnson songs, a favorite of the groom's, as guests sipped cocktails dressed up with swimmer-adorned straws.

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Iconic Napkins

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Foil-stamped cocktail napkins from For Your Party were customized with symbols representing both the bride and groom: lips for Edyta and glasses for Jared.

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One Cool Pool

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Clear beach balls in varying sizes bobbed in the pool.

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A Traditional Dish

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Potato-and-cheese pierogi, passed during the cocktail hour, honored Edyta's Polish heritage. Three of the bride's cousins traveled from Poland to the United States to partake in the festivities—it was a total surprise to the bride, who didn't think they could come.

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A Moment With Mom

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Jared with his mother, Dana, who embroidered vintage handkerchiefs with guests' names for the ceremony.

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The Reception

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Table seating included a mix of rented vintage chairs and thrift-store finds that had been spray-painted in the day's colors. Blankets tossed across the chair backs kept guests warm after sunset.

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The Table Details

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Vintage vases held peach, orange, and white poppies.

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The Menu

Pastel and Pyrite Table Setting
Belathée Photography

Pastel dinnerware, rose-gold flatware, and menus weighted down with glittery pyrite rocks (a mineral found in the desert) set the dinner scene. A family-style dinner of black cod, torchio pasta, and Italian broccoli was prepared by Whoa Nelly Catering.

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Thinking Pink

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Drippy pink tapers were set in rose-gold candlesticks alongside vintage bubble-glass votive holders.

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The Favors

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Glass bottles filled with pink Himalayan sea salt made savory (and on-palette) favors.

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Chairs With Flair

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The newlyweds' chairbacks were marked by gold foil-stamped icons to represent the bride and groom.

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The First Course

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A market lettuce, citrus, hazelnut, and pecorino salad kicked off dinner.

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Desert Views

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Casa Verona's backyard provided sweeping views of the San Jacinto Mountains.

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Retro Offerings

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Witty signage tipped guests off to the fondue station. "Without a doubt, I knew I wanted fondue as a dessert," says Edyta. "It's such a fun way to connect and bond over food."

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Dessert in the Desert

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Guests dipped marshmallows, citrus wedges, and European-inspired cookies and pastries into melted dark chocolate kept warm in vintage fondue sets. "I've always been charmed by fondue," says the bride.

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Witty Details

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Cheeky custom-printed napkins reminded guests how to spell two of the day's most important words: desert and dessert.

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On Display

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Guests' advice-filled R.S.V.P. cards were strung into mobiles that hung above the fondue bar.

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A Crafty Backdrop

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The couple folded about 200 paper gems to make a custom backdrop for their photo booth.

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Photo Booth Love

Tomfoolery SF

Attendees popped inside the house to pose and have fun in the photo booth from Jared's company, Tomfoolery SF.

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One Cute Cake

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Paper gems topped a hexagon-shaped chocolate cake frosted in vanilla buttercream and covered in crushed rock candy.

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Mobile Memories

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The paper-gem mobiles that decorated the dessert area and matched the cake toppers now hang in the couple's bedroom. There were roughly 300 gems created between the mobiles, cake décor, and photo booth backdrop.

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A Surprise Act

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After everyone had visited the fondue dessert bar, synchronized swimmers performed a routine to Donna Summers's "Let's Dance." "Nothing says 'midcentury' like synchronized swimmers," jokes Edyta of the evening's entertainment.

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The Swim Club

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"I kid you not, everyone was squealing with excitement when the routine started," recalls Jared.

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The Happy Couple

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The wedding, which was part family reunion, part sunny getaway, added up to one wholly unique celebration that went just swimmingly.

"The size of the event is what I'm most proud of," Jared says of the intimate fête. "Being able to look into the 'crowd' and make eye contact with everyone, have a conversation with everyone, laugh with everyone—all at the same time—speaks to how special the day was."

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The Sources

Belathée Photography

Reception Location: Casa Verona
Event Planning: Tori Hendrix of Sitting in a Tree Events
Catering: Whoa Nelly Catering
Flowers: Bloem Hill
Photography: Belathée Photography
Videography: Austin Hendrix Productions
Stationery and Paper Goods: Cheree Berry Paper
Calligraphy: Nancy Hopkins Lettering
Cake: Sweet and Saucy Shop
Guitarist: Josh Evans
Rentals: Yeah! Rentals; The Hostess Haven; La Tavola Linens
Hair and Makeup: Erica Buekelman of 10.11 Makeup
Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Groom's Pocket Square: Zelma Rose
Groom's Belt: Billy Kirk
Transportation: First Charter School Bus
Photo Booth and Custom Backdrop: Tomfoolery SF
On-Site Logistics: Dovetail Logistics
Synchronized Swimmers: The Riverside Aquettes
Vials for Salt: Save on Crafts
Cake Stand: Lunares
Welcome Goodies: Jonathan Adler acrylic tray; Kate Spade pencils and notebook

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